This lightning-fast read about a girl's meth addiction is absolutely riveting. At first I was a bit put off by the strange writing style (the book is written entirely in free verse) but I found that it was incredibly well-written. Not only was the poetry able to effectively capture rational thought, the streams of consciousness and ecstatic feelings of the protagonists highs, and the depressive emotions of her crashes or when she was deprived of her addiction, but the words were written in different patterns that pertained to each situation and made everything more interesting. The book looks long, but I literally couldn't put down the book from the second I picked it up, and read all 544 pages without stopping.
It goes without saying that the plot is mature, but it's not unheard of, especially since it's based on the experiences of the author's own daughter. This makes it even more genuine. It's the story of a "perfect daughter" and of how easily she falls into the maw of "the monster." It's no big deal at first, in fact, for a good portion of the book, meth is seen as simply an enjoyable, naughty habit. But things quickly turn bad, and without even realizing it's happening under the constant influence of the drug, her life rapidly falls into a downward spiral.
This isn't a cutesy, humorous, or inspirational book with a happy ending. Although the free verse makes it seem less heavy and makes the story go by a little breezier, it's still a mature story for older teens, and although it's fairly clean as far as profanity goes, it contains heavy drug use. However, it could be good for people to read this, because it shows exactly what drugs can do to you, as harmless as they may seem on the outside.
This book won't try to convince you not to do drugs, it won't try to ingrain the dangers of them in your brain, it certainly won't lecture you, it simply lets you go along with Kristina and experience her emotions for yourself, so that readers can choose to make better decisions than her. It's an edgy and surprising book.
Not to mention that it's a debut novel. Ellen Hopkins is among the very best of the best of Young Adult authors out there right now, and I am hooked on her writing style. I'll definitely be reading more from her.